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What is seropositive?
Jan 9, 2006

Dr.

In a recent Q & A you mentioned that studies showing negative individuals with positive partners and the occurrances of becoming "seropositive". I am negative and my partner is positive. We guess that he has been infected for the last 5 or 6 years of our 10 year relationship. He is in an undetectible stage. What is "seropositive"? and what are my risks in regard to becoming seropositive? We only engage in oral sex since his diagnosis.

Response from Dr. Wohl

Seropositive refers to having serologic (that is in the blood) antibody evidence of HIV infection. So a person who has a positive HIV ELISA (antibody) test went from being seronegative for HIV to seropositive for HIV.

We are all seropositive for something. I am seropositive for the chickenpox virus, almost all of us are for mumps, herpes simplex 1 and epstein barr virus.

By being safe you reduce the risk of becoming positive. Whether oral sex transmits HIV is a recurring topic on this website that can always be counted on to generate responses. The short answer is that there is probably some finite low risk with oral sex if the person with HIV infection ejaculates in the mouth of the negative person. Throw in that the HIV+ partner has an undetectable viral load and the risk falls even further. Is it completely without risk? I don't know but suspect not.

Certainly, other STDs can be spread via oral sex and so if your partnership is not exclusive, then that is something you also have to consider.

DW



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